‘Check the Box’ campaign adds more info to movie ratings

By Vanessa Frith,

While most parents are familiar with the G through NC-17 movie ratings, the Motion Picture Association of America and National Association of Theater Owners are working to make the reasoning behind these ratings a little more transparent.

PSA from FilmRatings.com on Vimeo.

Cue the introduction of the “Check the Box” campaign. Instituted by the MPAA and NATO, who run the Classifications and Rating Administration, the new system will include explanations of why a film was given a certain rating as well as stating that trailers have been approved for certain films, reports USA Today.

According to the newly released PSA, examples of explanations for a PG-13 rating could include “Intense Sci-Fi Action” or “Crude Humor and Sensuality.”

Announced at CinemaCon, the new campaign was spurred by the Newtown school shooting, after which MPAA chairman and CEO Christopher Dodd and NATO president John Fithian attended a task force on gun violence led by Vice President Biden, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Throughout its existence, the goal of the rating system has never changed: to inform parents and allow them to make their own decisions, considering the children's sensibilities and unique sensitivities," Dodd stated at CinemaCon, reports the Los Angeles Times.

One of the drives behind the changes is to help increase consumer choice.

"We're not movie critics; it isn't our job to judge what's coming out," Dodd said, reports USA Today. "But it is our job to provide information. We want to let people know they have choices when they go to the movies, and this will help in that choice."

However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, not everyone believes the ratings are undergoing proper improvement.

"This is camouflage and a distinction without a difference," said Tim Winter of the Parents Television Council. "For any ratings system to be helpful, it has to be accurate, consistent, transparent and truthful. The industry is simply trying to give itself cover."

The “Check the Box” ratings system is set to go into place this month



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